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Maingear Factory Tour

A Visit To Maingear HQ

In a small industrial park in the town of Kenilworth, New Jersey, there's a place where discerning computer geeks can have their high-octane gaming PCs built by a team of professional enthusiasts. It's Maingear HQ, and CEO Wallace Santos was courteous enough to take Tom's Hardware on a guided tour through the custom PC-building facility.


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Form And Function

After being welcomed into the building, fellow Tom's Hardware contributor Derek Forrest and I found ourselves standing in a veritable man-cave. The lobby at Maingear serves as a stylish lounge area for employees and visitors. But more importantly, it makes an immediate statement to any newcomers who are unfamiliar with the company: "We love what we do; we're proud of what we've done and have yet to do."

The Wall Of Accolades

Right away, I was able to sense an unspoken purpose to the layout of Maingear's facilities. The lobby isn't just a way to exude the casual attitude you're met with by Wallace and his team; this space tells a story of successes. Awards, certifications and magazine features adorn walls and shelves in practically every corner of the room.

It Speaks For Itself

In a way, the lobby tries to tell you everything you need to know about Maingear. Aesthetics are extremely important to everyone in the building, but equally as important are the things you're going to see under the hood. So, how exactly do all of these components that marry form and function come together? We would find out in the Maingear warehouse.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

The best way I can describe my first impression upon entering Maingear's warehouse is the old saying: "a place for everything, and everything in its right place." A massive inventory room houses each of the separate components that make up a custom PC's anatomy, which are later sorted into separate "kit" boxes as equipment is prepped for assembly.

Welcome To The Nerdery

The main floor of the Maingear warehouse is the embodiment of ordered chaos. Constant movement and abandoned workstations might seem a bit conspicuous in any other work setting, but with so many tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, this team is constantly on the move.

Making Complex Seem Simple

One of the main benefits of ordering through a boutique shop like Maingear is the time the team spends organizing the guts of a PC, something sometimes overlooked in a DIY setting. You won't see a SATA wire or cooling tube out of place. It's difficult to remember that these machines are built for performance when you find yourself simply appreciating their appearance, but since you asked...

Quality Control

All of the builds assembled in-house get put through their paces by way of this mammoth QA station. Utilizing simple home depot racks and an array of monitors, the Maingear crew performs extensive image testing and benchmarking on multiple machines at a time, and every component is expected to meet strict in-house standards before being shipped to a customer.

The Body Shop

The Maingear paint room is where you can clearly see Wallace's love of custom cars shine through. This is where Maingear's cases get the same quality paint jobs you'd expect to see on a high-performance sports car, with a high level of precision and artistry. It's one of the ways that Maingear sets itself apart.

Mean And Clean

Working with high-end electronics can get messy in general, what with so many moving parts and fragile components. Taking it to another level through design work like laser etching and custom painting presents even more of a challenge in that arena. Cleaning equipment, sanders and painter's tape can be found everywhere in the paint room.

However, as you can see, organization and cleanliness are obviously a high-priority at Maingear.

The Finished Product

The culmination of these considerable efforts can be found on display throughout Maingear's headquarters. Builds like the one pictured here really show off the craftsmanship the company is capable of. From start to finish, the goals of visual beauty and technical prowess seem to be on the minds of everyone on this small but efficient team. I'd be lying if I said I didn't stare at this particular build for longer than necessary. What can I say? Pretty lights entice me.

  • BadActor
    Impressive facilities. The quality control station looks like something out of Star Wars!
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    the only problem i have with Maingear are their GPU and CPU upgrade prices. They give you a base GTX 960 GPU for example with your system. Well to upgrade that to a GTX 980, they charge you the full MSRP of the 980, instead of taking some of the money from the initial GTX 960 and giving you a discount on the 980.

    $1299 base system with 960
    980 GPU Upgrade: +$550

    Same with CPUs: full MSRP to upgrade instead of deducting difference plus adding a healthy 30% margin.

    Your better off buying the base system from them, selling the parts it comes with, and buying your own upgrade parts.
    Reply
  • Gam3r01
    the only problem i have with Maingear are their GPU and CPU upgrade prices. They give you a base GTX 960 GPU for example with your system. Well to upgrade that to a GTX 980, they charge you the full MSRP of the 980, instead of taking some of the money from the initial GTX 960 and giving you a discount on the 980.

    $1299 base system with 960
    980 GPU Upgrade: +$550

    Same with CPUs: full MSRP to upgrade instead of deducting difference plus adding a healthy 30% margin.

    Your better off buying the base system from them, selling the parts it comes with, and buying your own upgrade parts.

    Thats the thing, almost everyone ordering from sites like this dont care about the extra premium over doing it themselves.
    Its just business, we have to live with it.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Why am I not working there? :lol:
    Reply
  • bluestar2k11
    Wow.... I know they make good computers, and their quality and customer service is excellent, but to see inside the works, is..... stunning.... Can i get a job there? ><

    My next laptop is going to be a maingear, high premium but you get the value in it that you wouldn't with other SI's. Imo anyway.
    Reply
  • Lord-of-the-Pies
    If only Maingear had an answer to the Digital Storm Aventum 3.
    Reply
  • mlee 2500
    After building my own gaming PC's for almost 30 years, I decided to get one from Maingear, see what added value I got from using a boutique builder.

    It's been a solid, well put together product. In the final analysis, I didn't pay any premium over the cost of building it myself, when I factor in all the time and research I would have spent to do it right.

    On one hand my time is worth allot, on the other, if I'm honest, I *enjoy* building gaming PC's....so, I don't know if I would do it again.
    Reply
  • Supporter
    looks to me like the whole thing is in an abandoned warehouse or a half garage 1200 monthly rent tops. and who in the world puts their hands in their pockets for a photo? no successful person would.
    Reply
  • jamus34
    After building my own gaming PC's for almost 30 years, I decided to get one from Maingear, see what added value I got from using a boutique builder.

    It's been a solid, well put together product. In the final analysis, I didn't pay any premium over the cost of building it myself, when I factor in all the time and research I would have spent to do it right.

    On one hand my time is worth allot, on the other, if I'm honest, I *enjoy* building gaming PC's....so, I don't know if I would do it again.

    This is me almost to a T. While I do not think I would save much when you factor in the time to actually build the rig...I *enjoy* fiddling around with it.

    Now if I was trying to do a SFF build I imagine that my answer would be different...and would probably involve a urgent care visit for stitches due to sheet metal cuts. In that instance I will probably outsource the work.
    Reply
  • jamus34
    looks to me like the whole thing is in an abandoned warehouse or a half garage 1200 monthly rent tops. and who in the world puts their hands in their pockets for a photo? no successful person would.

    If the company is run by "techies" and not businesspeople / investors I can easily see both of those things.

    Also, do you have any clue on real estate prices and taxes in NJ are??? I imagine they picked what looks like an old (probably abandoned) warehouse based on taxes breaks offered by the town to try to get industry in. They could renovate and modernize an existing warehouse for a fraction of the cost of new construction and as stated probably get concessions from the town / county...possibly the state too.
    Reply